The first round of the Historic Tour visited the popular Zwartkops Raceway outside Pretoria on 4 March 2017. With a bunch of new competitors joining the Historic Racing South Africa club this year the day promised to be a good one.
The largest contingent of newcomers could be seen in the newly branded Historic Pursuit Racing (Marque Cars). Boasting with a new sponsor in the form of Charlies SuperSpar they sure looked the part on the day.
The Historic Saloons classes also showed up in big numbers and a few new faces and exquisite new historic saloons. This year the cut-off requirement will be Saloon Cars introduced before 31 December 1979. This allows for some more cars that qualify to be raced in these Historic Saloon car classes.
With a whole host of new sponsors on-board for the 2017 season the stage was set for Historic Tour to kick off with a bang.
The Big Boys went at it hammer and tongs! The first round for the Marlboro Crane Hire Pre-80 Historic Saloons classes A to E delivered two action packed races. In the first race Willie Hepburn (Opel Rekord) literally ran away with the victory leaving Anton Raaths (Chev Camaro) and Neil Reyneke (Chev Can Am) fighting for the second position.
However, right behind them we saw new kid on the block Johan Smith (Mazda Capella RS) in a titanic battle with Gerhard Henning (VW Scirocco). Another frantic battle for position happened between Gert Botes (Ford Escort) and Martin Botha (Datsun 200 GX) with Gert eventually beating Botha to the line.
In the second race Willie Hepburn had a battle royal on his hands with the challenging Anton Raaths. Raaths even got past Hepburn at a stage through turn 5 and had Hepburn out of shape at stages fighting to gain the lead once again. In her first outing in her dad’s big Ford Fairlane Paige Lindenberg impressed with a fight for position against Johan Smith and later Sophos Pantazis (Datsun 240). The consistency of Pantazis in a more familiar car saw him get the better of her this time round. Botes retired after developing mechanical issues leaving Regard van Zyl (Alfa GTV) chasing after Neil Lobb (Fiat 131) on old tyres. Luckily Lobb did enough in the opening stages of the race to maintain the lead in class E and take the win.
If the opening round is anything to go by it does predict a season that will be highly contested in some of the most beautiful Pre 1980 racing machines you will ever see on a racing grid.
Class A: 1. Willie Hepburn
Class C: 1. Niel Reyneke and 2. Anton Raaths
Class D: 1. Johann Smith, 2. Gerhard Henning and 3. Sophos Pantazis
Class E: 1. Neil Lobb, 2. Justin Ladner and 3. Regard van Zyl
Spectacular racing was the order of the day in the two Marlboro Crane Hire Pre-1980 Historic Saloon classes FGH races. The first race saw a four way battle for the lead initially between Rene van Rensburg (Ford Escort), Marius Verwey (Datsun GX Coupe), Deon van Vuuren (Ford Escort Mk1) and series newcomer Cor Kraamwinkel (BMW 2002).
Putting in consistent faster laps saw van Rensburg take the win in class F. Fifteenth over the finishing line was class G winner Frank Davis (Ford Escort Mk1). Ending in twenty-first spot was class H winner Kyle Murray (Nissan Sentra).
In the second race the class F victory went to Mike Maurice (Ford Escort Mk1) after a proper ding-dong battle with Cor Kraamwinkel and Deon van Vuuren in the early stages of the race. Frank Davis took the double win in class G for the day. This time round Johan Swanepoel took the win in class H.
Class A: 1. Willie Hepburn
Class F: 1. Mike Maurice, 2. Deon van Vuuren and 3. Cor Kraamwinkel
Class G: 1. Frank Davis, 2. Marco Verwey and 3. Djurk Venter
Class H: Johan Swanepoel
It has been quite a while since spectators got so excited about a handicap race, but the past weekend you could hear spectators yelling at the top of their voices during the Charlies SuperSpar Historic Pursuit races. Not only did they rebrand their category with a new name to make it much more appealing, but the club members have also been working hard behind the scenes to get more racers joining their ranks. And on Saturday they reaped the benefits from all that hard work!
Not only did they have close to 30 cars on grid, but even the commentators put in a concerted effort informing the spectators as to how the handicap racing works. That did a world of good when these guys came together in the closing stages of the race. Suddenly everybody understood what was happening; catch me if you can in a pursuit to cross the line first! Kudos to all involved. You have raised the bar and made it exciting to watch again!
One thing is for certain, these guys are already looking forward to the next race. As things stand now we can expect an all-out pursuit for the win!
Overall results for the day:
1. Rob van Aarle (F), 2. Johan Swanepoel (T) and 3. Neil Fowlis (F)
Overall Classification – Fine Cars (F):
1. Rob van Aarle, 2. Neil Fowlis and 3. Machiel Oberholzer
Overall Classification – Trophy Cars (T):
1. Johan Swanepoel, 2. Darrell Cramer and 3. Les McLeod
With the next round set for Phakisa near the friendly Free State town of Welkom on 29 April you can be sure to expect some more sparks flying!
For any enquiries, photographs or media reports on The Historic Tour feel free to contact Paul Blackburn on 082 900 6443 or email@example.com.
Historic Racing South Africa (HRSA) (formerly The Historic Racing Car Register of South Africa) was formed in 1973 with the aim of preserving and racing old cars from yesteryear. Many of the original members are still to be found participating in races and supporting the club, leading the Committee to believe that the current Formulae of racing offered by the HRSA, is popular and also attracts a good following of spectators
The Club offers a number of different categories of racing:
Sports & GT, Historic Saloon Cars, Classic Thoroughbreds, Historic Pursuit Racing and Historic Endurance Series.
For more info and contact details please visit their website: www.historicracing.co.za